The U.S. Army and Special Operations Command moved one step closer to giving elite troops offensive laser weapons for the battlefield.
A successful battery of tests on high-intensity directed energy laser weapons took place at White Sands Missile Range test ground in New Mexico, Raytheon announced Monday. Unmanned targets were destroyed “over a wide variety of flight regimes, altitudes, and air speeds, proving the feasibility of laser attack from Apache,” the company said.
The military website Task and Purpose said “surgical and precise” laser weapons will be a welcome addition to the operators’ mission toolbox.
“With Raytheon’s successful test comes a glimpse at what the future of offensive directed energy weapons could potentially look like,” the website said Monday. “Knowing that those weapons are in the hands of the elite warfighters of SOCOM is the most excited we’ve felt about DoD laser research in years.”
The Pentagon’s test with Raytheon comes just three months after the U.S. Army and Lockheed Martin set a laser-weapon record for use on its High Energy Laser Mobile Test Truck (HELMTT).
The Maryland-based company’s technology reached a 58-kilowatt nearly doubled a June 2015 test that destroyed a truck within minutes.